Who will take us to Canaan?

HARARE - Zimbabwean voters on July 31 have a choice to elect a party that has revived the country’s failed economy or one that slashed it by 45 percent in a decade.

That is the message being put across by captains of industry, workers and the unemployed.

The message has been repeated by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on a campaign trail around the country.

The forthcoming vote is widely seen as a last chance for Zimbabwe to forge ahead with a comprehensive structural reform programme to revive the economy, heal a rift with Western countries crucial for fiscal support, and strengthen financial sector stability.

Pitting Tsvangirai and his long-time foe President Robert Mugabe, the result of the election is set to have a rallying effect on Zimbabwean markets.

An agreement brokered by the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (Sadc) after the last violent and disputed elections in 2008 gave birth to a fractious unity government that has stabilised the economy after nearly a decade of decline and hyperinflation critics blame on Mugabe.

Tsvangirai is claiming credit for that stability on the campaign trail, arguing that his entry into the coalition government in 2009 saw the economy grow by 6.3 percent in that year after a decade of economic contraction, accelerated by 9 percent in 2010, grew by 10.6 percent in 2011 and the growth cooled to 4.4 percent in 2012 and is projected to grow by 5 percent this year.

While analysts say the growth was largely in response to changes in the political construction rather than changes influenced by effective policy frame-working by the MDC, on the stump, secretary general and Finance minister Tendai Biti  is saying the MDC has adopted use of the multiple currency system, introduced cash budgeting, and discontinued quasi-fiscal operations of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) resulting in strong economic growth averaging about 7 percent, single-digit inflation below 5 percent, and a doubling of fiscal revenue collection from 16 percent of GDP in 2009 to an estimated 36 percent of GDP in 2012.

The 89-year-old Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabwe has known since independence from Britain in 1980 and his party Zanu PF reject repeated assertions that their policies have driven the nation once known as Africa’s breadbasket to virtual economic ruin.

Psychology Maziwisa, junior Zanu PF spokesperson, said the economic dislocation since 2000 was a result of “economic sanctions” not bad policies as alleged by the MDC, accusing Britain and the United States of seeking to oust Mugabe by imposing punitive measures.

“Everything is clear, it’s because of sanctions,” Maziwisa said.

“The (economic) stability is attributable to dollarisation, it’s attributable to honourable (minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Patrick) Chinamasa. Dollarisation was introduced by minister Chinamasa in January 2009. All this is an attempt to hoodwink the electorate, its propaganda.”

As in the 2008 presidential election, which Tsvangirai won after beating Mugabe, the energetic 61-year-old leader is once again creating a buzz as he criss-crosses the southern African nation ahead of the July 31 vote as his soon-to-be nonagenarian rival scales back on campaigns.

A centrist politician who admires free-market economics with strong welfare policies, Tsvangirai vows to end Mugabe’s “elitist” indigenisation and economic nationalisation programme for a broad-based empowerment programme while keeping the best of the veteran leader’s anti-poverty projects.

At every turn, Tsvangirai baits Mugabe using Zimbabwe dollars to depict him as an incompetent economist who wrecked the economy by recklessly minting cash, and is eager to reinstate the discredited currency if he wins re-election.

“This money was not able to buy anything for breakfast,” Tsvangirai told a whistle-stop rally in Masvingo on Sunday while waving Zimdollars.

“Bush economics has no place in a new Zimbabwe. The economy can only be revived by people with a vision.”

Trevor Maisiri, a senior southern African analyst at the International Crisis Group, said Tsvangirai cannot directly conclude that Zimbabwe’s GDP growth over the past five years was due to effective policies by the MDC, saying the main driver has been the confidence brought by the semblance of political stability following the formation of the GNU.

Maisiri said Zimbabwe faced a difficult choice.

“Should MDC win the elections, you are likely to have an FDI-driven growth, given that the party is  open to foreign investments and willing to engage any global players on a business-to-business basis without the strict limitations of political ideology,” Maisiri told the Daily News.

“For Zanu PF, an election win will only bring growth dependent on what political line the party takes. If the party continues on a ‘hardliner’ channel, there will be less opening up of the economy to global trade and investment, except maybe to the traditional players — Eastern bloc.

“However, if Zanu PF adopts a business-like approach with less political ‘hardliner’ stance, then this will likely attract some level of economic activity — given that even the Western countries seem willing to engage with a post-election Zanu PF that internally reforms and pursues ‘sober’ economic and political policies.”

Mugabe’s Zanu PF manifesto threatens to “take back the economy” by creating $7,3 billion in value from 1 138 indigenised firms  across 14 key sectors of the economy,  creating 2, 265 million jobs, proposing  an economy run along the same rigid lines that crippled eastern bloc economies for much of the 20th century.

Benefiting from one of the world’s largest diamond reserves, critics say Zanu PF is kept afloat by a torrent of diamond dollars.

Tsvangirai wants to revive preferential alliances with Zimbabwe’s Western friends, improving ties with southern African neighbours, creating one million jobs by 2018, increasing economic growth rates exponentially, further reducing inflation, delivering a $100 billion economy by 2040, improving electricity generation and building a social contract.

The election affords Zimbabwe a respite from a painful and weak economic recovery, it is likely to heal a rift with the country’s foreign creditors, who are talking a debt write-off of Zimbabwe’s over $10 billion arrears.

The international re-engagement is crucial to a country with 80 percent unemployment rate and the rising prospect of social unrest.

The IMF, which has said it was prepared to discuss emergency loans and changes as soon as a new government was in place, noted in its latest country report on Zimbabwe that “significant downside risks to the outlook remain” including “possible resurgence of political instability ahead of the elections expected in 2013, policy slippages, a deeper global downturn, fluctuations in global commodity prices (especially for precious metals and stones).”

Tsvangirai’s party, which has surged on a wave of economic revival sentiment and spooked Zanu PF with its talk of tearing up indigenisation agreements, has earned a thumb up from investors.

Economists say the future health of the Zimbabwean economy weighs heavily on the outcome of the forthcoming election.

Businessman Mutumwa Mawere says if Mugabe were to be re-elected, the country will continue on the same destructive path.

“The fact that president Mugabe campaigns relying on the past is well established,” Mawere said.

“However, present day and future challenges will not be addressed by listening to the ghosts of yesterday.”

In a sign of the high stakes for financial stability, the White House and the European Commission have both urged Zimbabwean political leaders to stage a free and fair contest and that they will be prepared to work with any democratically-elected government.

Roeland van de Gee, an EU envoy said: “If the outcome of the elections is clear, is accepted, who are we, all Europeans, to say... we continue with our sanctions, but it has to be clear, that’s true.”

Any new leader will face an uphill battle to inject confidence into a paralysed Zimbabwean economy that depends heavily on the continued infusion of money from its only remaining lifeline, taxes.

The Zimbabwean economy and a deficit-ridden government have lost most of their ability to raise new revenues or borrow money to continue operations.

But political analysts said no matter what government was formed, it would face a crisis of expectation and will be hard-pressed to persuade lenders to extend loans, which could be tied to deeper economic reforms and drastic spending cuts.

For many Zimbabweans, the election is a choice between hope and fear.

Tsvangirai has billed the election as “watershed” likening it to the 1980 vote that ushered in majority rule, capturing the momentum of those hungry for change at almost any cost from a political system that is widely seen as corrupt and ineffective.

It also had support from voters who felt betrayed by the Zanu PF socialists, whose party has been in power since 1980.

In the end, fear of imminent collapse, or the slow death of the economy and society, appear to drive a majority of Zimbabweans towards new democracy.

For Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, this “do-or-die” election will be about preserving the liberation legacy.

“If by unforeseen circumstance we don’t win this election, the legacy of our president is gone and is gone forever, the legacy of our party is gone and gone forever, and we would have squandered the future of our children and our people,” Khaya Moyo warned.

Comments (26)

Both Biti and Chinamasa are guilty of misappropriation of thought..none of them introduced the US dollar into the street, the people did this themselves and young Psychology needs to be mindful of the fact sanctions are not responsible for transporting us where we find ourselves, ie in the doldrums but mismanagement and corruption. If both the US and the UK have this massive power over us then why do we say we freed ourselves from them when we use their currency and will not shut up about their sanctions. And as managers of our own country why did we not have a plan in place to counter the sanctions? Whingeing and mourning about them is not providing a solution or does Psychology think they are the same? For 13 years you have mourned about these sanctions without taking any realistic steps to improve our welfare, why then should you pretend to be our governors when you are telling us not in as many words that the real power is in Washington and London?

gutter poet - 16 July 2013

its obvious mudhara bob will take us to canan yako iyoyo. but what i know is we aregoing to win as a zanu pf party. its only victory

sandirayi - 16 July 2013

100% dwelling on the past will not bring bread on the table. We can never survive on history. To blame sanctions on poor governance is hogwash. Lets give mdc-t a chance as zpf has failed the test 33x

moyo - 16 July 2013

Another GNU in the making... Zanu pf consciously know that they are going to lose that's why these hurriedly elections without reforms. This evident by chaotic Special Voting for uniformed forces, their refusal for reforms. MDC-T will win a significant number of Parliamentary and Senatorial seat, Zanu will rig the Presidential therefore making the results disputed. Their hope is in SADC and AU who will probably force all the parties represented in parliament to form another GNU. This will be a plus or positive to Zanu coz it will give them time to reform and renew itself by attending to their internal rifts mainly succession issues.

Common Sense - 16 July 2013

ZANUPF has been an unmitigated disaster for the country for the country and the region. However MDCT is the short-term solution to getting rid of an evil system. Tswangison has been brave the same way Mugabe was brave in getting rid of Ian Smith. Thereafter there will be a need for more credible leadership which exists outside of both parties. Both the MDCT and ZANUPF are burdened with the ideologies. They think that the solution to the country's woes depend on relations with the Eastern or Western Countries. Relations matter but the solution is good transparent policies that encourage locals to grow and prosper.

true patriot - 16 July 2013

l dont believe in hate speech the current MPs fell far way behind of my expectations,you and l both know theover 65 are not being taken care of and they are bearing the brunt of the aids pandemic.20-30$ is enough for a pension for all the elderly.Diamond money not benefitting majority.developmental issues not being prioritised,well who can take us to CANAAN-noone Ngavatonge vese kusvikira vadzidza checks and balances nokuti all politicians are misinformed at times.If there was a third strong party l would vote for them but for now l am appreciating the peace lets have prayers from next week so that the current peace is maintained no politician is worth dying for.

walter - 16 July 2013

After reading this article, I think it is now very easy to make a choice. Either we go by a hopelss, cruel & dying oldman who has nothing to offer but only rhetoric, madeness and chaotic language the only things left in his vocabulary. Or we go for change, a president with hope and many freinds, a man welcome to all human kind, God fearing and a man who respect the country's rule of law. MT will take us there, to the promissed land. The Oldman is finished and just as dangerous as a dying horse, he wants us to take us with him! Lets complete the change that we started:The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!

TaTanga - 16 July 2013

I will vote for change.I dont want to imagine going back to the 90s when there were no sanctions but ques everywhere under aZanuPF government.Lets not quicly forget,que for mealie-meal,que for bread,que for sugar,que for cooking oil,que for fuel,everywhere que que under a Zanu PF goverment.No ndaramba.There were no sanctions then.It was corruption and misgovernace.Thomas Mapfumo akatoimbawo corruption.Then came the unwarrented DRC war again it was ZanuPF.Then came the unbudgeted for war vet payouts.The rest was poverty.Lest we quikly forget.Vote for change.

Pablo - 16 July 2013

I like change and I can see it coming. Its unbelievable to to see that policemen and army broke windows in order to vote. Varume vakuvara nenzara. They also want a change, even Zanu supporters want change. Even Zvimba pple, Mugabe ' s own family want change, even Mugabe himself doesnt want any more. RIP Zanu

tata - 16 July 2013

I am a scientist, right it takes an equal and opposite force to move any object from its position, so whatever is going to happen dont expect any change. if RGM wins it remains like this same with MRT because it takes someone like Mugabe to remove Mugabe, so if MRT is going to win it means we have another RGM in power. Talk of corruption, resistance to step down, divided/factious parties, suffering of electorate, pretending, concentration of power, etc. so to me its better the devil i know.....

Leeman - 16 July 2013

People were arrested for dollarising themselves

chibatamoto - 16 July 2013

HEY WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO PROP UP THE LUNATIC TSVANGISON

john nzenza - 16 July 2013

Everybody remembers my economy grew most during sanctions period. Why didnt yours grow in the same period. I laid hundreds of kilometers of tarred roads and rail lines, but you have failed to do so for the Hre-Chitungwiza link. Today, most rail lines are no longer in use. So is somebody...and that somebody must go

ian smith - 16 July 2013

Zanu pf is useless. They had their chance and failed to deliver. People should vote for change not old age and policies. They are all tired band old. Lets go for new ideas not old useless marxist policies. Vote mdc.

Foe Ndamu - 16 July 2013

This time around kamudhara karikuenda. Kano tswairwa, lets wait and see.

foe ndamu - 16 July 2013

Vakarasika kare vanhu veZanu Pf and Tekere akanga azviona kare izvi but pple thought he was insane! Now who was insane? Tekere wakati, "The Party has been hijacked by political sharks". That was way back when he formed ZUM! Now, the sharks are busy deavouring what the nations should be feeding on! Vote JUICE !

Jambanja paSalisbury - 16 July 2013

Vakarasika kare vanhu veZanu Pf and Tekere akanga azviona kare izvi but pple thought he was insane! Now who was insane? Tekere wakati, "The Party has been hijacked by political sharks". That was way back when he formed ZUM! Now, the sharks are busy deavouring what the nation should be feeding on! Vote JUICE !

Jambanja paSalisbury - 16 July 2013

I WILL TAKE MY SELF TO CANAAN.

Canaan Bound - 16 July 2013

Zimbabweans are rated the best in Africa in education by the government intellectuals. Ithus not the truth because the sanctions these useless people are shouting could not affect us remember when Germany was under sanctions not to be given iron ore she introduced fiber in the motor industry. If u are clever find an alternative way not saying we are educated..... that's nonsense more over u are speaking in English ..why not speaking in your native language? Zimbabweans vote for a real change not the party with useless policies. MDC T NDIZVO.

Chinokura chinokotama - 17 July 2013

Canaan is with Morgan not Robert.

Robert - 17 July 2013

Until the Courts rule otherwise, Tswangirayi decided he would recognise and deal only with Mutambara as the leader of the MDC. Well, the courts have not yet ruled - he should therefore continue dealing with Mutambara and even seek a coalition with him - until the courts rule otherwise!!!

Phunyukabemphethe - 17 July 2013

Sanctiins had nothing to do with the economic meltdown zanu failed period. Why are we no self sustaining after 33years. Will the US economy suffer if zim imposed sanctions on them? Not because it is a self sustaining economy. Zanu sold the country to the chinese ndivo vatengesi chaiwo even robert's kid studies in china like wtf, it doesnt make sense at all. Lmaoo at zanu trying to credit themselves for use of the us$ and yet they ran economy aground with their bush economics becuase robert insisted that textbook economics dnt mean anything!! MDC is the way to go because we need that change in thinking, fresher and updated thinking. Zanu always raise the liberation war rhetoric but they do not realise that if u are good soldier it doesnt make u a good lawyer or economists hence robert shud not have been a president but rather it should have been someone with a business and law background hence mdc has Biti and a host of lawyers in it which is relevant to the needs of the modern person!

obama4eva - 17 July 2013

We will take ourselves to Canaan

Veca$h - 17 July 2013

Its likely the author news editor may not beleave in the HOLY BIBLE. Moses led the children of Isirail to Canan. He did this against the Pharoh, a very big power. The road was very bumpy. The nation of Dzimbabwe appears in between the lines in the Holy Bible. Read the bible fellow Zimbabweans your eyes will be opened.

dungas - 17 July 2013

Zimbabwe needs a new government led by Morgan nothing else.33 years is just too much to make a meaning ful change today. Zimbabweans have had enough.

Jonathan Moyo - 19 July 2013

a new government under Tsvangirai will certainly take us to canaan not a party of old looters

tkz - 23 July 2013

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